Emancipation In California

Emancipation is a legal way for a minor to essentially become an adult before the age of 18. Becoming emancipated allows a minor between the ages of 14 and 17 to become free from the custody and control of his or her parents. If you are interested in emancipation in California, learn what you need to know with assistance from an experienced San Diego family lawyer.

What Does Emancipation Mean?

Emancipation is the legal process of freeing a minor who is at least 14 years old from parental control. In a typical situation, the parents of a child who is under the age of 18 exercise legal control over the minor. However, in special circumstances, the courts may free (emancipate) the minor from this control. 

For the most part, emancipation is forever, but the courts in California may decide to cancel the emancipation if it is discovered that the petitioner lied to the court or is no longer able to self-support. An emancipated minor has certain rights and responsibilities. These rights include the right to live where the minor wishes, sign contracts, keep all money earned, obtain a work permit, buy or lease property, and consent to medical and dental care. 

Emancipated minors also have responsibilities. These include being financially self-supporting with a lawful source of income, paying bills, maintaining required health and automobile insurance, and attending school until graduating or turning 18. Emancipated minors are not legal adults in all ways. For example, they must still get a parent’s permission to marry and wait until they turn 18 to vote.

How To Become Emancipated In California

How to Become Emancipated in California

In order to obtain legal emancipation in California, a minor must go through the proper channels and obtain the court’s permission. There are three ways for a minor to become emancipated in California:

  • Get legally married. With a parent’s permission and permission from the courts, you can get married under the age of 18 and become legally emancipated from your parents.
  • Join the military. Join any branch of the U.S. Military under the age of 18 with both the military and your parent’s permission for legal emancipation.
  • Get a Declaration of Emancipation. A judicial Declaration of Emancipation is a document signed by a judge that officially emancipates you.

A Declaration of Emancipation is the only route that does not require a parent’s permission. However, this involves a court process and convincing a judge to sign off on your petition.

What to Expect From an Emancipation Case

If your parents will not give you permission to emancipate, you can take your case to court. You will start by filling out the required forms and submitting them to the correct family law courthouse in the county where you live. You will also need to write a statement confirming that you qualify for emancipation. You will need to pay the filing fee of $435 when you submit these forms unless you qualify for a fee waiver

Once a judge receives your paperwork, a court date will be set. You legally must give notice to your parents if you ask a judge to grant a Declaration of Emancipation. However, you can give a judge a reason if you do not want to tell your parents about the petition to seek a waiving notice. If your parents do not consent, they can attend your court hearing to contest the emancipation. You have the right to hire an attorney to represent you during your emancipation hearing.

Emancipation is a serious decision. There may be other options for achieving your specific goals. For further information and resources on emancipation in California, seek legal advice from a trusted San Diego divorce attorney at Boyd Law. We offer free case consultations when you call (949)-753-1028.